In Apple's iPhone, the App Store is uppercase, both words. Not a generic application repository, or marketplace, or alternative ways in which an application is added to the phone. No. The App Store is specific, unique. The case is so big that Apple tried to sue other app stores, calling themselves App Store.
Today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments that can change how Apple (and everyone else) conceives of all app stores. Appleinsider summarizes what we know about Apple v. Pepper.
"A litigation lawsuit accusing Apple of maintaining and maintaining the monopoly of iPhone application distribution, in addition to excessive charges, hits the Supreme Court on Monday, with the lawsuit seeking millions of dollars – and could have broad implications throughout the industry.
The US Supreme Court will hear arguments today in Apple v Pepper's case, which maintains that the company deliberately created a monopoly in the App Store. The claim is that Apple also used this monopoly to raise app prices.
It is important to note that the case was initially brought back in 2011 but was not allowed to proceed. It was only last year that a ruling allowed the case to reach the Supreme Court.
In 2011, many people were wondering if it was possible for a company to have a monopoly of its own store. Apple does not allow any app to appear on the App Store, exercising a rigorous editorial curation about what a person can have on their iPhone or iPad.
This is not a problem on the Mac because the Mac can and has always been able to load apps, getting them directly from the developer, app resellers or any other medium. There is a setting for the Mac that would lock it in App Store applications. But this is a user's choice and not a requirement.
While there is only one official way to load applications on the iPhone, there are other application stores, such as Cydia. It was available to those willing to unlock your iPhone. A jailbreak could only be done by taking advantage of some sort of bug or exploit of security. It was in Apple's interest to close all security breaches as quickly as possible. This made it difficult to maintain the jailbreak community.
There's also the issue of app pricing. In 2011, applications were much more expensive than they are now. Today, most of the apps in the store are free with in-app purchases, while others are only 99 ¢. The biggest implication if Apple loses the case is that they may have to allow side-loading on the iPhone, which will break the control over which apps are allowed on the iPhone. It will also break your security template. We do not expect a final decision until the summer of 2019.